Preparedness Corner
April 2002
By Paul Vircsik

Hi Neighbors,

First, let me say, congratulations to our fire department and especially to my firefighter neighbors who live on the ranch.  No fatalities or injuries and the fire went out like it’s supposed to do.  Well done!

I realize how cold it is on the ranch, but fire danger is still, ever present.  With the cold comes fire inside homes, recreational and occasionally accidental.  I know everyone checks the fire place flue before lighting, the chimney for buildup before each season, and the furnace for lint and proper flame production.  But do you check them mid-season? We burn all winter and just like a car, they need to be checked as you use it.  Cold also breeds complacency because it is “just so cold”.  Check your flame and heat producing fixtures anyway and make sure that the area around each fixture is clear of debris from any cloth, paper, or burnable material.  If it can burn, move it away.  I will tell you what I tell every one about defensible space.  Stand in front of the fireplace until you have to move out of the way or burn.  Objects can’t move as you just did so move what cannot move on it’s own.

This is different   From this

Preparing for and fighting both should always be on our minds as residents of this ranch.  While living with the ever-present danger of the latter, you should be thinking about the former, for that season is quickly coming upon us.  Training for either is different and both should be trained for, from a firefighter's standpoint as well as a resident's.  Look at the time line Mary Jo displays before each paragraph.  How much property do you think was consumed by fire from detection until the units arrived? How much time until Mike and Mary Jo got down to the gate? Add it up and you will understand what I have been preaching for years about response times.  (Click Here to read Mary Jo's article.)

For defensible space outside, now is the time while the sap is still quiet, for limbing and clearing dead vegetation from around the house.  Defensible space changes over the year with new growth and the amount of space you need should be checked each year.  Clearing the growth now is also easier because you can see the individual plants so clumping and clearing can be established.  Moreover, no snakes, bugs, or hot sun to hamper your progress.

Lastly, remember what she said.  We are your fire department.  Remember us.  We remember you.

See you all soon,

Meet the author: Read about Paul Vircsik's background